Just returned from the Players' Dinner for the 2007 Women's Amateur and I have to say, I was disappointed in the turnout. A lot of contestants were no-shows. You would think a chance to mingle with fellow contestants while enjoying a nice meal would be enticing enough. The USGA even provided transportation to Meridian Hills for those without vehicles. The USGA also has moved the dinner up one night so that it doesn't conflict with early morning starting times for the first round of stroke-play qualifying. I remember going to the dinner two years ago in Atlanta and there was a tremendous turnout as the USGA honored Carol Semple Thompson for playing in her 100th USGA championship.
This time around, there wasn't a guest speaker but four players from recent international teams did talk about their experiences. Jennie Lee, Amanda Blumenherst and defending Women's Amateur champion Kimberly Kim talked about a scary experience aboard a dinner cruise in South Africa at last year's Women's World Amateur Team Championship. The boat that they were on nearly capsized and sent everyone onboard into the water. Fortunately, nobody was injured, and the three females did their best to humorize the situation in the aftermath of what could have been a very unfortunate incident. Lee and Blumenherst also talked about their Curtis Cup experience in Oregon last summer, while Stacy Lewis discussed her trip to Canada in June to play on the Copa de las Americas team with Lee.
I also found out why Carol Semple Thompson did not play in the 1977 U.S. Women's Amateur, which up until this year had been the last time she did not play in this championship. She had just started a job in a bank and didn't feel it was wise to ask for some time off.
Next May, Thompson gets to return to the Old Course at St. Andrews as the 2008 USA Curtis Cup team captain. Thompson played in the Ladies British Amateur at St. Andrews in 1975 as the defending champion. She had won the title a year earlier at Royal Porthcawl in Wales.
Well, back tomorrow with more.
USGA Staff Writer